As humans, we tend to lose direction in life. Maybe you struggle with addiction, have experienced a traumatic event, are a rebellious teenager, or have deeper emotional issues that you can’t seem to understand. It’s time to try something new to find a solution to this and not just get back to living life fully, but use this as a stepping stone to personal growth. One such way, that also includes a lot of fun and novelty, is wilderness therapy. Let’s see what that is.
What is Wilderness Therapy
According to Wiki, wilderness therapy is “an adventure-based therapy treatment modality for behavior modification and interpersonal self-improvement, combining experiential education, individual and group therapy in a wilderness setting.”
Or in other words, for those asking what is wilderness therapy, that’s a program involving outdoor activities. You can, let’s say, go backpacking or camping for a few days (or even weeks) and come back as a completely new person. It’s refreshing, challenging, therapeutic, social, and life-changing.
Such an experiment is all about being part of a group, doing something you’ve never tried, building skills, developing self-awareness, finding peace of mind, being in nature and changing your perspective.
How Does Adventure Therapy Work
Such programs are outdoor and include awesome activities such as camping. Once you admit you need a break from reality, or have taken the decision to let this approach help you deal with a deeper issue, you can join a wilderness camp for teens or adults. You can sleep in instant tents and be close to nature.
Keep in mind that the outdoor activity itself isn’t what will help you learn from your mistake, clear your mind and grow. That’s just one of the many benefits of wilderness programs. It’s the therapy sessions involved, the help of professional instructors and therapists, the activities that are done on a daily basis, and the fact that you’re encouraged to embrace self-awareness, that make all the difference.
The Benefits of Outdoor Therapy
Now that you know the answer to the question ‘What is wilderness therapy?’, you can also decide if it’s for you once you get familiar with all its benefits. Here they are:
New environment, new you.
A change in environment does help. Sometimes, a troubled teen might be acting out mainly due to their surroundings, who they hang out with, or how an outer factor in their current environment is affecting them.
When that’s changed completely, such as during backpacking with other people with similar issues but guided by experts and learning how to take responsibility, these teens can be transformed.
It’s great for mental health.
Leaving our problems behind for a while doesn’t mean we’re running away. Sometimes, it might mean we are just doing something better with our time. Such is the case with adventure therapy.
If you’re willing to get into the wild with people you don’t know, talk about your feelings and be assessed by others, you’ll gain awareness like never before. That helps with finding focus, it’s therapeutic and results in mental clarity.
The collaborative environment, the individualized treatment programs and the support you receive that helps you express yourself more and understand yourself better, also leads to forming better and more meaningful relationships after the program.
You build skills.
When you’re out in nature, you’ll be learning how to survive in the wilderness.
With camping, for instance, you’ll also learn how to navigate with a compass and map, start a fire, put it out safely, put up a tent, survive without the usual belongings you’re used to, build a shelter, and more.
All this engages your mind, you start becoming more independent, you think logically and get creative at the same time. Such skills are practical in many other situations in life too.
Mindfulness and contentment.
You’ll soon realize that it’s okay not to be surrounded by technology or the usual comforts we’re used to. A more minimalist lifestyle actually makes life easier. You start breathing and experiencing each moment more fully. You appreciate nature and all that it has to offer.
There are many other benefits of wilderness therapy, such as managing your emotions better, becoming self-reliant and more confident in your abilities, learning to communicate with others in a more relaxed way and showing understanding.
If you’re willing to experience the advantages of traditional therapy methods but while being outside and doing fun stuff, then wilderness therapy might be just what you need.